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‘Working Collaboratively, Holistically and Strategically in and with Community – The Power of Community Development in Legal Education’ (Presentation Slides)

Author(s): Elizabeth Curran

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.

I have been asked to answer the following questions today: 1. What is Community Development 2. What it means in terms of approach 3. To provide examples of when I have used it in my work 4. To distill any examples of how it is done 5. To discuss how to evaluate its impact and worth and 6. To examine why it might be a core service of CLCs. 7. Dome key challenges in terms of funding and funders.

Now in Australia we have the empirical data that had been lacking to support anecdotally what had been observed by some service providers over many years. These empirical studies not only demonstrated that similar issues arise in Australia for people who are the recipients of legal assistance services (largely people on social support or with incomes of under $26,000K) but that inroads could be made by joined- up services both legal and non-legal, holistic approaches, community legal education that reaches out and is targeted and responsive to community needs and behaviour. The studies confirmed that the direction of many legal assistance services to work collaboratively, holistically and strategically to assist people, to educate them and to work towards law reform to ensure that recurring problems are all critical if access to the legal system and equality before the law are to be attained.

CLCs have a vital role as community agencies along with others to enable community members to have and find a voice.

“If funders and the community want the legal assistance sector to make a difference in solving people’s problems and advancing and protecting community rights then they must recognize the need to approach problems strategically and use various approaches to obtain results. To achieve this, organizations must be given a level of autonomy that frees them up to use their skills, experience and knowledge of the system as well as the client's actual circumstances to decide the best strategy.”

Read on SSRN

Centre:

Research theme: Health, Law and Bioethics, Human Rights Law and Policy, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team